16 Tiny Kitchens That Prove Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Hi Everyone,

Well, the other day when I was researching hidden rooms/secret doors and hidden storage, I came across some very small kitchens. I mean, tiny kitchens. The tiniest kitchens I’ve ever seen.


And, so I thought it would be fun to re-do and old post about small kitchens.


Frankly, I’m not overly fond of football stadium-sized kitchens. You can give me a really small kitchen over that any day!

I’m not saying that there aren’t some gorgeous big kitchens. They’re just not my preference.

However, when I started thinking about it, I realized that the largest kitchen I’ve ever had (not including an eating area), if there was one, was maybe 100 sq feet – tops.

The smallest was the one I had in my 500 sq. foot apartment on the upper west side of Manhattan. It was built into a corner and was at most 20 square feet. I can’t say it was easy, but it was possible to whip up quite a gourmet meal. It helped that there were only two walls. This non-kitchen (not to be confused with an unkitchen) is quite typical in smaller Manhattan apartments.


One objection that I frequently get regarding small kitchens, especially when we start talking about possibly not having upper cabinets, is:


“There isn’t enough storage.”

Here’s my answer.

Get rid of some of your stuff.

Or, put it somewhere, off-site if it’s only being used once or twice a year.


And, perhaps then, utilize the available storage better.


If one is thinking about the way storage was 20 years ago, then that is what the problem might be.

For a ton of great storage ideas for your small kitchen, please click here.


Still, after you see some of these teeny-tiny kitchens, even a normal small one will seem huge by comparison. However, while some of these are micro kitchens, the larger small kitchens are quite functional, I think.


Remember the kitchen that came in an armoire?


I thought it wouldn’t be possible to go smaller than that.


I was wrong; it is possible.

So, I’m going to start with the micro kitchens. AKA kitchenettes.

I love these because I could see creating an apartment in one’s home, a guest or mother-in-law suite, or an Airbnb with one of these kitchenettes.


True Story.


About 12 years ago, I had some middle-aged but newlywed clients. They were nearly finished with their new-build home in North Salem, NY. And, they put a mini kitchen in their bedroom! It was actually through a large opening into another section of the very large master bedroom suite.

The husband made a point of telling me with a kind of creepy smile that they loved to hang out up in their room ALL DAY LONG.


“Yes,” I found myself saying, “Great idea to put in the kitchenette.”


And, then, he leads me into the master bathroom and proudly shows me the “bathtub built for two.” Uhhhh, yes, that’s what he said! But, do I need to know that? I’m just there to measure for the curtains. haha

They weren’t large people and the tub was huuuuuuuge. I imagine they could’ve comfortably accommodated at least two more people in that tub.


[Ummmm… Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.]


And yes, I was alone in the house with the pervy hubs.

Okay, I won’t bore you any further (today, that is) with tales of the wacky interior design business.


So, let’s dive into these tiny kitchens.


John Strand MOD-K-4- kitchenette - tiny kitchenJohn Strand MOD-K-4- kitchenette

See? It’s all there. I mean, you probably won’t be making Thanksgiving dinner for 20, with this getup. But, it’s fine for a simple meal for two.

Okay, I know. Some of you are REAL chefs and a kitchen like this would be akin to making dinner with an EasyBake Oven. lol


mesh-architectures-artist-studio-small-kitchen-via Remodelista

mesh-architectures-artist-studio-small-kitchen-via Remodelista

Then, there’s this modern tiny kitchen. It’s all there! I’m not sure if that’s a freezer drawer or a dishwasher drawer. And, true, there’s zero counter space. But, if you had a table nearby, that would work.


via: tiny house talk - tiny-heirloom-custom-tiny-homes-tiny kitchen

via: tiny house talk – tiny-heirloom-custom

This tiny kitchen is IN a very tiny house. Remember the post from a few years ago about tiny houses? I find them quite fascinating.


Actually, if you read about it in the link just under the image, please check out the comments.


Some of them are pretty funny.  Actually, wait. You must check out the article. And not for the kitchen, but to see the porch; the world’s teensiest porch with FOUR columns.


This is what happens when Tara (yes, that Tara) mates with an ant.


I don’t know how anyone could live here full-time. It would be fun for a weekend getaway, perhaps. However, I do think this is quite well-done for the amount of space they’re working with.

Please note, though, that the aisle is woefully narrow. It really should be at least six inches wider. Minimum. But, they aren’t very large people, so maybe it’s okay.


Artist's 450-Square-Foot NYC Studio | Apartment Therapy

Artist’s 450-Square-Foot NYC Studio | Apartment Therapy


This kitchen is from a 450 square foot studio apartment in New York City.


Poor, NYC.


I hear that it’s still pretty much a ghost town. However, there are thousands of homeless people wandering the streets.


Logan Killen Interiors - tiny gray kitchen

Logan Killen Interiors

Is that the tiniest range you’ve ever seen? It’s a very interesting kitchen. I wouldn’t have thought to do the smoked glass fronts, but I think they do work here. I think this might be an Ikea kitchen. Love the retro pendant and always love table lamps in the kitchen.


via Elle Decoration - Stockholm tiny kitchen - Kalle Gustafsson and Sara Bille - photo: Andrea Papinivia Elle Decoration – Stockholm tiny kitchen – Kalle Gustafsson and Sara Bille – photo: Andrea Papini

That’s a handsome space that is beautifully integrated into the rest of the home. They’ve done a great job of utilizing the vertical space.


I do know that a lot of you cringe when you see open shelves.


And, the reason is that all you can see is grease and endless cleaning of residual gunk that collects on the open shelves and everything on them.

There’s a simple secret I’d like to share with you about open shelves that will make them function beautifully for you, with very little maintenance.


It’s called CLEANING SERVICE.  haha.


If that’s not in the budget, then so be it. But, open shelves are terrific in tiny kitchens because well, they make the available space seem larger. And, that’s a good thing. Right?


Loft 9b - Small-kitchen - Smeg Fridge-Dimitar-Karanikolov - tiny kitchens

Loft 9b – Smeg Fridge-Dimitar-Karanikolov


Livingston Interiors - tiny kitchen

Livingston Interiors

I mean, who could resist that adorable Smeg mini-fridge! I mean, it’s so cute, I just want to take it home and feed it. And guess who carries it?  Please click on the image below, to find out.  The nuker is just like one I purchased about 18 months ago. Only mine is turquoise. It’s a nifty little microwave and I love the retro look.




Architect Don Cantillo for perfumer Shalini - Charming tiny kitchen

Architect Don Cantillo for perfumer Shalini

This is a lovely little jewel box of a kitchen. Love the range and the apple-green cabinets. You can read more about it here. Just one thing. In a small space like this if I hood was needed, I would’ve done something clad in wood. I love the wooden hoods from Devol.


But what I really would’ve done is a down-draft range and then that wall could’ve been clad in a mirrored or subway tile backsplash.


There could even be some miniature art pieces. It would be fitting with the French style.



Here, you can see a mirror behind the glass shelf which adds a lot of shine and the illusion of more space.


Not only does the glass shelf add lightness, but again the mirror magnifies and brightens the tiny space.


tiny kitchen

This shelf slides up and down. How clever is that!

More images and info about this kitchen here.


tiny kitchens - white - kitchen - French Doors

via Domino

Oh, how pretty and fresh is this small kitchen. Or, maybe I’m just seduced by the French Doors and transom going out to the small patio. Very charming.


Covent Garden Kitchen - DeVOL Kitchens - Tiny kitchens - Small kitchen

Covent Garden Kitchen – DeVOL Kitchens

The photo above and then the next four images are from DeVOL kitchens. Oh, they have the most beautiful, classic English kitchens. And while most of them are not particularly small. I found these three handsome galley kitchens.


DeVOL Kitchens - Small Kitchens - Covent Garden

DeVOL Kitchens


I love the beautiful hand-made subway tile backsplash. And, of course, that gorgeous brass bridge faucet.


Clerkenwell - Shaker Kitchen - DeVOL Kitchens - Small Kitchens

Clerkenwell – Shaker Kitchen – DeVOL Kitchens

I’ve featured this kitchen on one of my previous posts featuring DeVOL kitchens. I think over-all, this is my favorite shape kitchen. It is wide enough that two people can work in it without killing each other.








Please check out the ultimate tiny kitchen by designer Stephanie Stokes


There are so many wonderful things about this tiny kitchen.


For 25 beautiful pantries go here.


Sheila Bridges


And, one last small kitchen. It’s one of the prettiest and not-white kitchens by the fabulous Sheila Bridges. Fabulous always needs to go in front of Sheila because she is definitely in my top 5 of all-time fave designers.


Please note the painted floor. It’s a great solution when the floors could stand to be refinished but one doesn’t want to go to all the expense and mess of heavy-duty sanding and staining. I think the white floor looks fabulous in this jewel box of a New York City kitchen. Ironically, this is a HUGE kitchen for NYC.


I want to close the photo portion with a kitchen that’s not all that tiny. However, it is artfully hidden.


And, I’ve been wanting to share this beauty with y’all for a while, but haven’t had a good opportunity. But, this is probably as good as it’s going to get.


woollahra-liebke-projects - hidden kitchen

woollahra-liebke-projects – hidden kitchen


Yes, this is a kitchen! Actually, we did look at a similar kitchen in this post.


Oh, wait. I’m wrong.


The kitchen I’m thinking of is not in the post above, but that is a great post, so please do check it out. This is the correct post.



This kitchen is manufactured by Liebke


minosa-hidden-kitchen-sydney-eastern-suburbs-small kitchen


To recap Small Kitchens love


  • Mirrors- especially on the backsplash
  • Shelves to keep things light (or consider taking the doors off of upper cabinets for a shelf-like look)
  • Floor to ceiling cabinets if possible
  • Smaller appliances usually and a counter-depth fridge
  • Consider a downdraft range.
  • Charming accessories and art help give a small space personality and style.
  • Collections of porcelains or ceramics and/or baskets for storage.
  • Using all of the available space
  • Monochromatic color schemes are great.
  • Try not to overlap cabinets over windows. Sometimes it’s difficult in an apartment.
  • Painted floors can be very charming in a small old apartment.
  • Old rugs look terrific too.
  • Pay attention to lighting, but one or two fabulous ceiling fixtures can make the space.


One thing I’ve seen but am not a fan of is hanging up the pots in a small kitchen.


It’s not my favorite in most kitchens and in a small kitchen almost always looks too cluttered, IMO.


I love small kitchens. My current kitchen is about 85 sq feet and it’s plenty big for me.



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES. We are beginning to HEAT up for Labor Day Weekend, coming up.

Please note, you’ll find a new promo code for One King’s Lane to get 20% off – (AKA: Laurel’s Private Sale.) It’s not really private, just not published. In addition, Serena & Lily has just put all of their living room furniture on sale!


30 Responses

  1. I had a tiny NYC kitchen like the smallest ones here. I lived like a European and shopped for fresh food everyday. In winter I stashed food in bins on my fire escape for extra “refrigerator” space. I had to wash every dish by hand before eating (because of open-shelving grime) AND after. It worked in a romanticized “I live in a garret like an artist” kind of way. But once we had a baby, it was too time-consuming, and we just ordered take-out every night and ate on paper plates.

  2. Hi Laurel,
    I hope my comment isn’t too late for you to see it.
    If I lived on my own, I would manage just fine with a tiny kitchen. Even one the size of your first few pictures.
    I love Shelia’s kitchen. But I wonder why she didn’t take her upper cabinets up to the ceiling. There must be a good reason.
    Do you remember the TV show she used to have years ago? I fell in love with her way back then. She can do no wrong.

  3. I am so thankful to be rid of my galley kitchen! My kitchen is small and I was contemplating using a mirrored backsplash, but after a dizzy spell from viewing the kitchen in the butler’s pantry with the mirrors I have definitely changed my mind.

  4. My grandmother, who spent all her life in a village in East European country, had a lovely hidden kitchen. My family still owns the house, which was built by my great grandfather in 1925. The room (kitchen-diner) is about 10 x 10 ft. There is a range, a built-in cabinet (4 doors, which are flash with the wall, and the sink is behind one of the upper doors), a day bed, and a table with 4 chairs. There is a separate pantry, which is bigger than the kitchen. It hosts the back of the kitchen cabinet (that’s why the cabinet doors are flash with the kitchen wall), a lot of shelves, hooks, the fridge, etc.

    As I realize now, it was very easy to keep the kitchen clean. The table was wiped regularly during the day, as it was used for preparing the meal and then for eating. The range had to be cleaned occasionally. Everything else was behind closed doors or in the pantry.

  5. Beautiful, charming and loaded with efficient use of space. But are they kitchens, or cooking space, or perhaps cooking compartments. Like a pullman train. It is a sleeping compartment, not a bedroom, but it does have the essentials. Still, the design and incredible use of space in these tiny kitchens are amazing. Always look forward to what you are going to come up with – and you rarely disappoint.

  6. Such an enjoyable post! I absolutely love that stunning Sheila Bridges kitchen although I might prefer a different color. Thanks for helping me appreciate my small kitchen again.

  7. I love these, but I agree with Jana! In the process of building out the interior of our forever home by ourselves (by choice, but has taken far longer than I imagined), we lived in it part-time for over two years, and have been full-time for a year and a half, and didn’t have a real kitchen until last November. Most of that time we had a plastic utility sink, (no dishwasher of course), a microwave, and a convection oven, and basically no counter space. I’m not one who enjoys cooking anyway, so it was very challenging for me to keep us fed, and my OCD was in overdrive! I love our kitchen now, but it is still definitely in the “small” category, by choice. What keeps it from feeling that way, to me, is that it is very open.

  8. Our first kitchen as newlyweds had two cabinets and two drawers on each side of the sink. We had a washing machine and a refrigerator on the second wall and the stove and hot water heater on the third wall. The fourth wall opened to the kitchen table and a tiny pantry. My husband put open shelves above the stove and we cooked all kinds of meals in that tiny space. In fact, I loved it the most of any kitchen I have had. I could stand in one spot and do it all!!! Thanks for sharing these cute kitchens. My current one is long and narrow and I see some good ideas.

  9. My husband is from France, but we live in Texas, and over our 36 years together, I’ve visited France many times and been in the kitchens of family and friends. My dear mother-in-law had a tiny kitchen with a combination dishwasher/oven. I’m not kidding. I have a photo of it somewhere among my 2000 pictures. I had never seen anything like it before. The Europeans know how to design for small spaces! So do the Japanese – we went there in 2018, and saw cleverly designed tight spaces there, too. Laurel, I always enjoy your blog. Thank you for entertaining us all.

  10. Thank you for these are lovely kitchens with great small space ideas. Please know that New York City is not a ghost town. It is re-opening carefully and creatively with safety a priority. James Altucher is a putz wiht a capital P and actual New Yorkers know that Jerry Seinfeld is right. “Greatness is rare. And the true greatness that is New York City is beyond rare.” We look forward to welcoming everyone back to our ever-evolving, beautiful city!

  11. As cute as the circular sink is in the photo – just think about trying to wash more than one dish at a time. And certainly not a lasagna pan, even a small one. (A mistake I once made.)

  12. Another idea for you that we used in a garage conversion to a studio apartment for us to use while the main house remodel dragged on….
    Made the kitchen counter 27″ deep, which allowed for 15″ deep upper cabinents (25% more storage), the under counter mini refrigerator now looks built in, and we have useable counter space in front of the toaster oven.

    Love your blog!

  13. To reduce the grime from gas stoves simply use the exhaust fan. Every time, even when boiling water. It will keep your air cleaner too in the house.If it’s a good fan that is.

  14. I love this post! My husband and I were empty nesters until around April 1, 2020, and we had been planning a newly-built, small apartment where we would live while finishing a larger project on our property in Maine. We moved in the same weekend that our daughter and her BF arrived from NYC. Our son was already with us, having fled CT. The tiny kitchen we planned and built just for the two of us making an occasional dinner has now fed 5 adults daily for months. Apt sized fridge and dishwasher, but a full-sized range. Let me tell you, it works! I never would have believed it. Thanks Laurel!

  15. Love the innovation in making small task spaces work…AND look so good. Were I alone, I could make one of those work. But meal prep for more than one on a daily basis in such a small space would make my compulsive anti-clutter meter peg. Which would require lots of very cold Chardonnay in order to maintain calm during cooking and cleanup. o_0

  16. Like many of us, Laurel, I live alone. I’ve had a bigger kitchen then smaller ones. I much prefer smaller. I don’t understand why galley kitchens get a bad rap. I find mine so efficient. Everything is within a couple of steps, and I do have a large pantry. I love it.

  17. Lovely and innovative! The only thing I might disagree with is the downdraft range/cooktop suggestion. I’ve yet to see one that does the job it’s supposed to do. (kind of like those useless fans under built in microwaves) or maybe there’s a brand I’m not aware of that would do a good job. 🙂

  18. thumbs up for the apple green cabinets. I’ve been in my kitchen a lot more since the start of the pandemic. Thank goodness for dishwashers.

  19. I love Sheila Bridge’s work too.

    Regarding open shelves, I absolutely LOVE the way they look, but have concluded from reading other’s experiences that they just get grimy.

    It seems that gas stoves deposit a fine layer of sticky substance over anything nearby? I know one lady who is an obsessive cleaner, and when she moved house and took down the dishes sitting on the open shelves (that she constantly cleaned), she was appalled by the sticky film and grime.

    Also just read an account from a rich lady who owns three fabulous houses. She wrote that the latest house she and her husband purchased had two cabinets with open wire fronts right next to the gas stove and the stuff inside got dirty. They remodeled that kitchen and made the cabinet doors solid.

    Otherwise, if there was a way I could have even one long kitchen shelf without so much dirt, I would love it because it looks so inviting.

  20. Hello Laurel, We have to distinguish between kitchens used occasionally for warming up leftovers, and those used for real cooking. Chinese kitchens tend to be small and undecorated. Mine is about 33 sf, but there is also a weird ell section of about 15 sf. I ended up stealing an extra 30 sf from the main area of the apartment. I have a two burner gas stove with no oven. To make up for this is a rice cooker and a small table-top oven (I hate microwaves) which I keep in the ell. There are windows on three of the walls, which go up to the ceiling, so there is no way to use any wall space except on the fourth wall, which does have a partial sunken cabinet with glass doors. There are no drawers at all, or room for any furniture, even a chair.

    Still, I have managed to make meals here and have done lots of entertaining. When my friends used to bring the baby over I could keep the extra pots on the floor of the “expansion section,” because you know how babies like to play with pots and pans!

  21. The hidden kitchens crack me up. To use it you would need to have doors open to use the stove, oven etc. Obviously for show only and not used.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

New Edition, November 2023! Get The Indispensable Guide For 100s of Home Furnishings And Interior Design Sources That Everyone Is Raving About

laurels-rolodex-final-book-cover-master 10th edition 23-24

laurel home archives


Please click the image below for more info about my rockin’ Interior Design Guides for 2024!

Laurel Home Interior Design Guides 2024
Amazon ad

please click below to check out my favorite decorating & design books

Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books